UNC Continues Ascension with Williams

Four-star 2016 running back Antonio Williams has made countless visits to North Carolina. He was back again on Tuesday.

“If it’s not over 20 [visits to UNC], it’s close to it,” Williams said.

Despite all the trips to Chapel Hill, Tuesday’s visit was still very fruitful for Williams, a 5-foot-11, 208-pound running back from New London (N.C.) North Stanly.

“We sat down and literally broke down every piece of the offense,” Williams said. “We broke down who’s going to be there when I get there, offensive-line wise. We broke down what I can do and how I can fit into it.

“From the outside, it looks like it’s just a spread and all they want to do is pass the ball. But when you really look into things, you look into the history of Coach [Larry] Fedora, Coach [Larry] Porter, Coach [Seth] Littrell, and all those guys do pound the rock downhill.”

Concerns over the running back’s role within UNC’s one-back, spread offense was the main culprit for Williams ending his nearly year-long commitment to the Tar Heels in July. Still aiming to make his collegiate decision shortly after the football season, Tuesday’s visit further improved the Tar Heels’ chances.

“[Tuesday] helps them a lot,” Williams said. “The offense was really the only question I really had. I didn’t really question the school stuff [related to the Wainstein report]. You hear about it all the time, but I know that was with the old staff. But the offense was all I needed to know and needed to see for myself.”

Williams has decided not to release a new favorite schools list prior to his declaration. During a postseason press conference, he’ll have six hats on a table representing Auburn, Duke, Georgia, UNC, Tennessee, and Wisconsin.

“I don’t want to say too much right now,” Williams said.

In his mind, Williams has narrowed that list down. Also, he has an idea which school he’ll choose, but is still weighing the pros and cons.

With the exception of Wisconsin, Williams has visited all six of the aforementioned schools. The earliest he’d be able to visit Madison is in the spring. He said he won’t delay his announcement to accommodate that visit.

Furthermore, after his decision, Williams won’t visit any school outside of the one he chooses.

Sometime this month, Williams will return to Auburn. The Tigers have home dates remaining with Texas A&M on Nov. 8 and Samford on Nov. 22.

Williams also plans to attend at least one of UNC’s final two home games – vs. Pittsburgh on Nov. 15 and/or vs. NC State on Nov. 29.

Tuesday’s UNC visit began with Williams accompanying freshman running back Elijah Hood to a class. It was the first time Williams sat in on a college lecture.

“It was interesting, because they talk about things in depth,” Williams said. “They have people [in the class] that are very intellectual. You don’t have people who are ignorant to a lot of subjects. I like knowing that I can go into a class and feel comfortable knowing that I can learn from peers as well as professors.”

During their time together, Hood also discussed his playing status. Hood has missed the past three games.

“He said he’d be back in a few weeks – that’s all he told me,” Williams said. “He didn’t look to be hurt. He had the brace on still. From my view, he looked fine.”

Williams then met with Porter, UNC’s running backs coach, who displayed film of Gio Bernard and Hood in the Tar Heels’ offense.

“He showed how they were used and how they moved,” Williams said. “He compared it to the offense that I run [at North Stanly] and the only real difference is ours is from the I-formation and I really didn’t realize that. The blocking assignments are really the same [and] they have a tight end come in to block as a fullback, so nothing is really that different.”

Williams concluded his stay by meeting with Fedora. But first, he conversed with each member of UNC’s staff – most of which had to excuse themselves from meetings.

Fedora’s message to Williams: the importance of life after football.

“If I live to be 80 years old and I get done playing when I’m 30, that’s 50 years [of my life left],” Williams said. “[Fedora] was just telling me how UNC has a system with its connections with in-state businesses, especially with me being an in-state guy. If I go to UNC, there’d be better connections for me after the game.

“Coach Fedora and I have a great relationship. We’ve been the same ever since I’ve talked to him in the eighth grade. He’s not a salesman nor is he trying to convincing – he’s telling me what it is and how it’s going to be. I like how he is with me. He’s selling it, but he’s not pushing it onto to me. He’s telling me how I can help the program and how the program can help me.”

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